For the May half-term, we packed a week's worth of clothes, got into the car and drove to France. Okay, there might have been more to this. Like spending weeks looking at which Eurocamp holiday parc would best suit our family and then researching what one needs for a Eurocamp holiday as well as what you need for driving in France. And obviously you have to book the ferry. If you try driving straight to France, you will literally be swimming with the fishes.
I must note that this was our first holiday abroad as a family of four. Dubz, who has just turned five, has always been quite
crazy a handful. But he has calmed down in the past year and we got him his first passport in May. We also thought that travelling by ferry would be a good way to ease into a holiday (I reckon we will be brave enough for plane travel in a few months).
So anyway, after much deliberation, we chose La Garangeoire in the Vendee (on the west coast of central France). I had read that there is better weather there than the northern parts of France, plus it requires much less driving to than the south of France. And we were not disappointed. While it did drizzle a couple of mornings, the weather was mostly sunny and warm. We had an amazing week at La Garangeoire, and I wanted to show you what a holiday looks like when every member of the family proclaims it to be 'the best holiday ever'.
On our first day at La Garangeorire, it was 33C, which was hotter than necessary, but luckily a couple of hours in the pool kept us all sane. In fact, we spent every afternoon/early evening at the pool. When we first arrived, Dubz was quite nervous of the water (he hasn't been swimming often as he has had a lot of problems with his ears/hearing). After a few minutes in his inflatable ring, Dubz was feeling confident and even tackling the slides. This meant that after the first visit to the pool, I was able to lie down on a deck chair tanning while the kids tired themselves out on the slides (don't worry, there was a lifeguard on duty and I did occasionally glance at my children as I relaxed in the sun).
Another thing we liked was that there was a covered pool. This would be perfect if you wanted to give your children a break from the sun. My half-brown children did not need a break, but my very pale husband definitely did. He really enjoyed being able to keep cool in the pool while staying out of the sun. Dubz also created a new trend called pool yoga. I'm not sure where he got this from, but he was doing the cutest little meditation poses in the pool.
One thing I love about going on holiday is getting a break from cooking. La Garangeoire has a bar restaurant that we had lunch at a few times. I particularly enjoyed the moules. It's right next to the pool so great after you've worked up an appetite swimming. They also serve the most amazing ice cream. I am still thinking of the coconut gelato (hmmmm). We also ate some of our meals at our holiday house. There was a BBQ which made dinner more fun. There is also a takeaway where you can order pizza and a variety of food (on one instance I had a very nice paella).
There is also a nice restaurant on-site where we had one of our evening meals. The food was delicious, but dinner did take two hours (that is something to take note of if you have very young children - but with the time difference it's actually not so bad). For a family of four, our meal came to 60 Euro (with wine). Every night the restaurant offers a different type of entertainment. When we went, there was a magician going from table to table. He was actually quite good and the kids loved him. The restaurant also has a creche so you can leave your children (age 3-12) while you have dinner alone. We had planned to try this but ran out of time.
We had never been on holiday somewhere there was a kids club. We now realise we have been missing out. The kids club changed our holiday completely. Moozles is nine and Dubz is five. They do not have much in common, and they tend to bicker. A lot. But just about every day, for two hours, they went to the kids club and Husband and I got some alone time. Yes, holidays are meant for family time. But it felt wonderful to have quality time with Husband (we even got to go grocery shopping by ourselves - it was heavenly). Also, I find it tough to entertain my children when they have such different interests. Moozles and Dubz made volcanoes, pretended to be pirates, learned how to be superheroes and made puppets. For free.
During the May half-term, the kids club takes children from 4-12. In the summer holidays, they divide the age groups as there are more children. On a couple of days that Moozles and Dubz attended kids club, there were only six or eight kids. One evening, they went to a pizza party while Husband and I had dinner on our own.
One of the reasons why I chose La Garangeoire was because it had so many activities. Sadly, we did not have time to do many things. I now understand why so many families go to Eurocamp for two weeks. One week is just not enough. We did not have time for archery, house riding, tennis, table tennis, trampolining or crazy golf. But we did have time for a pedalo ride on one of the lakes (free) as well as enjoying the playground. There are life jackets that can be used for the pedalo or canoe. Sadly there was nothing to protect my dozy husband who dropped his mobile in the lake. Eek.
The highlight of the week for the kids was the Crepe Night/Family Fun Night. Not only did we get to make crepes at one of the garden tables, but there was a special bouncy castle that was actually like an obstacle course. There were loads of games in the garden area, as well as face painting. We all had so much fun.
Last but not least, I wanted to tell you about our home away from home at La Garangeoire. We stayed in a three bedroom Vista. As a European self-catering specialist, Eurocamp know how to offer a comfortable holiday home. We chose Vista as they don't allow dogs in them (my son has asthma and hay fever so we need to stay somewhere quite clean). We had three bedrooms which meant that my children could go to sleep at different times and not disturb one another. The sockets are European, so you will need to bring UK-European adaptors for your electrical items (note: there is no television).
We had a kitchen with a full-size refrigerator. I find it so annoying when you stay somewhere self-catering and they give you a teeny tiny fridge. Our living area had a sofa as well as a dining table. We used this table for breakfast but had most of our dinners on our patio (which was very roomy). The outside table has a parasol, which meant that Husband could eat outside without getting burnt. We also had a couple of sun loungers, which would be perfect if you had babies/toddlers who needed naps and you wanted to tan.
Thank you to Eurocamp for our first holiday abroad as a family of four, and for a week of fun and sun. Have a look at my short vlog below to see some more of our adventures at La Garangeoire.
For further information call 01606787787, or visit www.eurocamp.co.uk, to find out how you can book yourself a wonderful family holiday.
We were invited to stay at Eurocamp for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.